Eagles Draft Profiles: Safety James Wiggins
Although the Eagles just made their big splash in free agency on safety Anthony Harris, they could look to bolster their secondary even more. During the second day of the 2021 NFL Draft, Cincinnati’s James Wiggins could be a substantial hidden gem to bring to Philadelphia. Wiggins is a senior from Cincinnati with one of the highest upsides of safety in this draft, but injury concerns have held teams back from ranking him higher.
Overall, Wiggins checks off almost every box at first glance. James has a keen eye for the ball and has done a fantastic job making huge plays for the Bearcats. Wiggins snagged four interceptions during his sophomore season and was tremendous at reading his keys and jumping routes perfectly. He was always on the receivers hip and stayed with him step-for-step.
James Wiggins in 22 games at Cincinnati:
- 86 tackles
- Five interceptions
- Three tackles for loss
- 11 pass deflections
Alongside that innate eye for the football, James’ aggressiveness is off the charts. He is, without a doubt, one of the hardest-hitting safeties in this draft. Some safeties sit and wait for the play, but Wiggins goes to the play and makes huge hits crippling the receiver. His downhill speed is dangerous and can close in on almost any wideout or running back.
That quickness also helps on special teams. Wiggins was a kick returner for the Bearcats in his sophomore season and did a fine job. He could be a much-needed boost for an Eagles team struggling to find their way on special teams.
While Wiggins might seem like a perfect prospect at first glance, there are some significant concerns. Before starting the 2019 season, James tore his ACL and missed his entire junior year. While recovering, he also tore his meniscus, and both have recovered since. Following that injury, his athleticism took a bit of a hit, but James should rebound very shortly with medical advancements over the years. The obvious concern going forward is “how healthy will he be in the years to come?”
Based on where he is projected to land, Wiggins is a medium risk-high reward player around the third round. For a player that has shown so much talent as James has, you can’t pass on him if that is a position you’re looking to bolster. Even if you feel safety is a bit too jammed, his six-foot frame could work nicely on the outside as a cornerback. Depending on how the first two rounds go in the draft, James Wiggins could be a great pick and will be a steal for anyone who takes him.
Mandatory Credit: Cincinnati Athletics